USC Spartans swimmer Ben Hance has smashed the S14 100m backstroke Paralympic record on his way to winning gold at the Tokyo Games tonight (Thursday 2 September).
Hance, 20, completed the final in 57.73 seconds, well ahead of his nearest rivals Viacheslav Emeliantsev of Russia (59.05) and Reece Dunn of Great Britain (59.97), and joyfully punched the air with both hands to celebrate his breakthrough victory.
He was by far the fastest qualifier for the final after a sensational heat swim of 57.75 seconds this morning that sliced more than two seconds off the previous Paralympic record of 59.82.
In both the heat and the final, Hance was only a split second off his own world record of 57.56 that he set at the Australian Swimming Trials in Adelaide earlier this year.
He will return home from the Games with gold, silver and bronze, having earned the other medals in the mixed 4x100m freestyle and the 100m butterfly respectively last week.
Meanwhile fellow Spartan Keira Stephens teamed up with former Spartan Ellie Cole to make up half the Australian 4x100m medley relay (34 points) team that won bronze in an exciting race.
Cole and Stephens swam the first two legs of the relay, and put their team in a great position to finish strongly in a time of 4:55.70, just behind the United States (4:52.40) and the Russian Paralympic Committee (4:55.55).
Earlier in the evening Ruby Storm completed her busy schedule at the Games by making the final of the S14 100m backstroke, in which she finished 8th.
The 10 USC-affiliated athletes in the Australian Paralympic team have so far won 12 medals between them. Results to date include:
- Ben Hance – gold in S14 100m backstroke; silver in S14 mixed 4x100m freestyle; bronze in S14 100m butterfly
- Alistair Donohoe – silver in C5 4km individual pursuit; bronze in road cycling time trial; 9th in team sprint qualifying
- Ruby Storm – silver in S14 mixed 4x100m freestyle; bronze in S14 100m butterfly; 7th in S14 200m freestyle; 7th in S14 200m individual medley; 8th in S14 100m backstroke
- Ellie Cole – silver in women’s 4x100m freestyle relay; bronze in 4x100m medley relay; 4th in S9 400m freestyle; 4th in S9 100m backstroke; 5th in S9 100m freestyle
- Katja Dedekind – bronze in S13 100m backstroke; bronze in S13 400m freestyle, 4th in S13 50m freestyle
- Keira Stephens – bronze in SB9 100m breaststroke; bronze in 4x100m medley relay; 9th fastest in S9 50m freestyle
- Blake Cochrane – bronze in SB7 100m breaststroke
- Braedan Jason – 4th in S13 400m freestyle; 5th in S12 100m freestyle
- Chris Bond in Australian wheelchair rugby team that finished 4th
- Hannah Dodd in Australian women’s wheelchair basketball team that finished 9th
The remaining events for USC athletes are as follows (with all times in AEST):
Friday 3 September
- Keira Stephens in 200m IM heats at 10.09am, with final at 6.07pm
- Braedan Jason in 100m butterfly heats at 11.16am, with final at 7.53pm
- Alistair Donohoe in cycling road race at 10.30am
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